Stephon Marbury Syndrome: What Not To Do With Social Media
In my last post I discussed a case study of an athlete who helped his career by using social media. Unfortunately, all it takes is a daily dose of SportsCenter to realize that many athletes get themselves into trouble by using social media irresponsibly. In case you aren’t up to date with the Web 2.0 mishaps of sports stars, this blog post has a concise outline of specific examples. Some of the more amusing blunders include Stephon Marbury streaming video of himself smoking marijuana and getting into a car accident, Robert Henson calling Redskins fans dim wits, and JR Smith revealing his alleged gang affiliations via Twitter.
If social media can be used as such a great avenue to market oneself and connect with fans, why are so many athletes misusing them? Mike Germano, president of the new-media marketing company Carrot Creative, says that athletes are simply uneducated about the tools. Social media allow players to market themselves rather than outsource marketing to a firm, so he thinks that such firms will soon start teaching players how to use new media rather than doing the actual marketing.
David Neiman of Athlete Interactive has another take on social media mistakes, focusing on “The Marbury Experiment” in particular. One of his key points is that an athlete’s online presence needs to have some sort of strategy or purpose. Many athletes jump on the social media bandwagon simply because they see their teammates tweeting and think they need to do it. As a result, many athletes’ online communications are irrelevant and lack a focused strategy. Marbury’s webcam antics, for example, had no clear purpose. He simply broadcasted himself 24/7 eating vaseline and breaking down into tears, leaving viewers puzzled. It seemed to be an attempt to bring his suffering career back to the spotlight by any means necessary. Neiman thinks that if Marbury’s UStream effort had a clear, focused strategy it could have actually helped his identity rather than annihilate it.